Tuesday, 9 April 2019

16 Year Anniversary

16 years ago today
CAL started
dark side of the moon was our first show
dez and steve butler played that show
and are still with me today

in fact
many of the musicians from the phoenix years
are still with me
i don’t think we’ve changed
but when i look back at the photographs
i see little kids

we’ve done so much
shared this music with so many
it’s a life

what we do feels true
there’s so much noise and misinformation out there
i don’t get caught up in it
i look back at all the bad advice people have tried to impart on me
unnecessary steps
i’ve stopped going to meetings
we know what we’re doing
i don’t need to hear about how should capitalize on social media
or target demographics
or build a brand
i hate that term
it just sounds like a buzz word used to remove people from their money
it rings false with me
we’re a band
an orchestra
we’re more of a family

never before has a generation been this passionate about music
my parents generation liked music
but it faded and fleeting
today’s pop is fine
but it’s here today and gone later today
just look at the charts from 5 years ago
time has passed and things have changed
CAL represents music that endures
and will continue to accompany us all through and around this mortal coil

after 16 years
i’ve learned a few things
this past weekend 
we had 37 musicians on the road
that takes a lot of planning
my sister handles most of that kind of thing
i love her so 
15 years ago she asked me if i wanted some help
i said okay
and with that she helped grow CAL

and grow we did
it’s getting big
and i’m giving more musicians work
here’s a copy of the email i send out to new musicians
i’m sure i shouldn’t be sharing it
but i’m a doors are open kind of guy:


listen to the album
learn the album
play the album
love the album
that’s it

note for note
cut for cut
tone for tone

groove onstage
but never grandstand
avoid tired old rock cliches
govern yourself like you are in an orchestra

don’t be frightened by alex’s snorts

wear black
and look as cool as possible
put comfort before style
don’t let fashion inhibit your show
shine your shoes
no colours
no logos
dress like a pro 
and make sure boge gets you a CAL water bottle for stage
no plastic baby

we don’t talk to the audience during the album performance
and during the 2nd set - the outro set - only sparingly
we never talk about anything that relates to the outside world
no politics / sports / new events / 
never anything like ‘hello cleveland’ or ‘are you ready to rawk chicago!’
that’s not our style
the core members know how to relate to the audience 
if you’re new to CAL - just stand back and smile

always compliment nick walsh on his hair

keep an eye on your booze intake
and be ready to hang out post gig
we like to hang out
we maintain a family vibe

if you’re having a problem with a part
seek help
start with rob phillips
he’ll point you in the right direction
we’ve all been there
and ask to have that part run at soundcheck
we want you to be great

never talk politics with nicky

if you start to incur expenses in order to make the show
let us know
we can help
we’re very pro-active in making sure your experience is a happy one
and if you need an advance - just ask
we’ve all been there too

don’t let mia confuse you

try and get each other gigs outside of CAL
i really like this part of our tribe
everyone getting each other work
that’s the good stuff
and if you have a better paying or a more important gig
let us know with as much time as possible
and we’ll work around it
we’ve all been there too
the doors are always open
we don’t carry grudges
we just want you to make money and be happy

ask nicole to make you a hat

if you have a bad guitar cable
throw it away
you’ll never fix it
just get a new one
you’ll sleep better

try hard not to start your own version of CAL
it upsets me when this happens
and it makes me rumble 

feel free to kick rick vatour out of your room at 2:00am

take care of each other
after 16 years we’ve all grown quite fond of each other
the toxic traders have been weeded out and replaced with givers 
CAL is a nice place for social interaction

and always take a moment to enjoy the moment
what we do is the stuff of greatness
we have something special
take it in
and reflect on your career and how far you’ve come

boge can fix anything 

make sure we get your family on the guest list
and bring them backstage so we can say hi 
and then rush away to tear down your gear quick
remind your guests that you are at work

never share a monitor mix with mark

make sure to eat well
it’s probably chicken for dinner
but we’re working through that

and learn to love the stones
as i don’t like people who don’t like stones

i’m looking forward to working with you
welcome to CAL
you’re at the top of your game now



that’s how we live
that’s our vibe
go ahead and steal the above blueprint
and start your own version of CAL
but you’ve got to have heart 
if you don’t feel it in your heart
and just want to make money
you’ll fail
and the audiences will know
our audience can smell a phoney a million miles away

that’s true with most things in life
back in the day i skipped an important exam
just to hear ‘don’t fear the reaper’ on the radio
i have always been that passionate about music
i still hang onto the hippie credo of the 60s
and think that music can change the world

it took a long time to figure this all out
i’m not sure how we did it
i think it had something to do with blind faith
once i had the idea for CAL
i was like a zombie
i maxed credit cards
cashed in savings and inheritance
exhausted lines of credit
i never left the house without a bundle of flyers
i worked and worked 
i had two sons
i never stopping to pause
somehow it worked out
i think because i cared so much
it’s funny - because i still feel like we’re just starting

when i do interviews
i often get asked 
what advice i have for anyone starting a new business
two things i have not been very good at: relationships and business
so i tell them
run your company on a high point rewards credit card
pay off that card every month
then use the points to upgrade to business class
and pursue love at all costs

16 years gone
a tattoo of truth on our invested careers
a life shared with our version of the holy trinity
the musicians
the venues
the crowd
we all care about this music
we all care about each other

so please join me 
in wishing CAL
a happy anniversary

april 10, 2019

jack daniels and ritz crackers